by Johnny Walker
California’s Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero outpointed Selcuk Aydin tonight in a tense battle at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, winning the WBC Interim welterweight title in his division debut.
The fight pitted Guerrero’s lighter-hitting activity against Aydin’s raw power, and as is usual in today’s world of computerized punch-counting, the fighter who was busier ended up with the victory.
But in reality, Guerrero versus Aydin seemed to this writer to be a much closer contest than either the judges or Showtime analyst Al Bernstein portrayed it to be.
Time and time again throughout the first part of the fight, Aydin scored with huge right hands to the head and the body, which would be answered by Guerrero in a flurry of punches, some of which Aydin was picking off with his guard. By round five, however, the accumulation of Aydin’s body shots was paying off, as Guerrero started to look worse for the wear.
Guerrero picked things up in round six and kept Aydin off of him with some stinging combinations. But the fight’s momentum appeared to turn in round seven, when Aydin scored repeatedly with vicious uppercuts that snapped Guerrero’s head back, again leaving the American looking tattered at the round’s end.
Guerrero showed good toughness and recuperative powers, and again rallied to edge the eighth round with some snappy combinations. Round nine, however, again saw Guerrero rattled when, following some hard body shots and uppercuts from the Turkish slugger, he took a hard right hand on the left ear. The shot appeared to disorient Guerrero slightly, but it occured near the end of the round, and again the American’s recuperative powers would serve him well.
Guerrero would increasingly resort to holding for the rest of the night, causing the frustrated Aydin to respond with some rabbit punches. Aydin had a big round ten, scoring with a wicked body shot that staggered Guerrero, his lethal right hand now increasingly finding the target.
Aydin continued his stalking attack in round eleven, as Guerrero attempted to pick up his pace once more. Aydin was picking off many of “The Ghost’s” punches, however, and responded with more hard body shots, finally moving upstairs to check Guerrero’s chin with a hard right hand that staggered the American. This time, Guerrero was able to rally at the close of the round with a showy combination that may have moved the judges in his direction.
Guerrero resorted to more holding in the final round, desperately trying to smother Aydin’s power shots on the inside. Guerrero launched a final flurry, and Aydin scored with big right hands to the head and body. Both men were exhausted and throwing wildly as the fight ended.
The judges unsurprisingly saw fit to reward the hometown hero Guerrero with a unanimous decision victory, with two scores of 116-112 and a ridiculous 117-111 travesty. Perhaps in a different time, Aydin would have been judged the winner based on the quality of his punches, rather then Guerrero winning because of the quantity of his.
Guerrero (30-1-1), who picked up the WBC Interim welterweight title, was ecstatic after the fight, and called out the soon to be free Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Floyd Mayweather, you want this belt, come and get it!” Guerrero said.
“We’re going to the top.”
Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) understandably appeared disconsolate after being tagged with his first professional loss.
“I could not do what I wanted to do,” he said, before mentioning problems with his vision and energy levels during the fight.
The opening of the Showtime broadcast featured a bout very similar to the Aydin – Guerrero headline tussle, as Shawn Porter and Alfonso Gomez also went the distance in a gritty battle.
As in the headline bout, this one featured one fighter landing the cleaner, harder punches versus an opponent who was busier and often fought in flurries.
And again, the judges sided with the busier fighter, as Porter won a unanimous decision by scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92.
The bout was often rough, with Porter suffering deep cuts over both eyes due to what were ruled as unintentional headbutts.